Queensland’s $11 billion innovation opportunity

Joseph Brookes
Senior Reporter

The Queensland government is preparing a 10-year innovation plan based on research it commissioned that predicts the state could create 80,000 new jobs and add $11 billion to the economy by bringing its innovation precincts to global standards.

The Palaszczuk government cabinet on Tuesday discussed findings from economic analysis on the state’s innovation hubs and precincts prepared by the University of Queensland (UQ). It found a more “coordinated and strategic approach” to innovation centres would bring the economic windfall.

Stirling Hinchliffe Annastacia
Queensland Innovation Minister Stirling Hinchliffe and Premier Annastacia Palaszczuk.

The Queensland Government said the findings have prompted an immediate start on a new whole-of-government 10-year plan for innovation, with a discussion paper based on the UQ economic analysis to be released for consultation on Friday.

A formal whole-of-government innovation plan based on the feedback is expected to be launched in early 2022.

The state’s current flagship innovation initiative is Advance Queensland, a wide-ranging scheme delivered across nine government departments in partnership with industry, universities, investors and the state’s chief entrepreneur.

Since launching in 2015, Advance Queensland has clocked $755 million of government investment in various programs to develop research and entrepreneur talent, build R&D capacity, support startups and establish emerging industries, according to the Queensland Government.

The initiative has also been criticised by one of its former leaders, ex-Queensland chief entrepreneur Steve Baxter, who earlier this year warned government focus on innovation had waned.

The Advance Queensland initiative followed the Smart State initiative, which began in 1998 and directed more government investment into research infrastructure to foster scientific work in Queensland.

Research infrastructure is understood to be a feature of the upcoming plan, which will also focus on incentivising research and industry partnerships and how to improve the state’s innovation hubs and precincts.

On Tuesday, Premier Annastacia Palaszczuk said both initiatives had been a success and led to game changing technologies and scientific breakthroughs in the state.

“In recent decades the Smart State and Advance Queensland initiatives have supported our impressive innovation sector including our world-class research centres which will further fire up our economy,” she said in a statement.

“The latest UQ study highlights a very bright future indeed for our innovation precincts, hubs and clusters and the exciting growth they will generate.

“New jobs in this sector will be vital as we transition from a short-term economic and health response to a long-term focus on productivity and competitiveness,” Ms Palaszczuk said.

The state government won’t be releasing the detail of the analysis claiming the $11 billion opportunity, which it commissioned UQ to undertake. The analysis will inform the discussion paper that will kick off consultations on the new ten-year innovation plan.

Queensland Innovation Minister Stirling Hinchliffe said innovation was key to positioning the state ahead of others for the future and the study findings “backs this up”.

“Innovation works best when industry and researchers work together to bring new ideas and applications to life and to market,” Mr Hinchcliffe said.

The minister said the plan would build on the state’s innovation centres established over the last 20 years.

“They include the Herston Health Precinct; the Boggo Road Precinct encompassing the Ecosciences Precinct, the Princess Alexandra Hospital and the Translational Research Institute; and the Gold Coast Health and Knowledge Precinct,” Mr Hinchliffe said.

“Several regional locations also feature with the emergence of the Townsville Knowledge and Cairns University Hospital Precincts and the AgTech and Logistics Hub in Toowoomba.”

Do you know more? Contact James Riley via Email.

1 Comment
  1. Gregory Davis 3 years ago

    Townsville is a city the state should be investing more in, Townsville businesses regularly adopt innovative practices ahead of the pack and it would be easier to do with more state government support. Too much focus is put on the SE Corner.

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